I DIG ENGLISH - just a cool blog about English

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half as much as I enjoy writing it for you.
Because I have a ball.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Books and Movies: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Hi guys!

Time flies by, doesn't it? Or is there actually a mechanism that speeds things up when you have less work and potter around the house? I hope not! :)

Anyway, today I would like to share with you a great book that I've recently read, have been majorly moved by and have been raving about to everyone who's willing to listen.

This might not be your type of book, your cup or tea – all because of the subject matter, which is a little bit controversial, but I truly hope that at least one person will find it interesting and give it a go. The book is definitely worth it.

For everybody else, there's also been a film made ;)

time flies by – czas szybko mija (to pass very quickly)
to speed something up – przyspieszać
to potter – krzątać się, pałętać się
majorly bardzo, w znacznym stopniu (very/ extremely)
moved –poruszona
to rave about something – zachwycać się czymś (to praise something very much)
It's isn't my cup of tea – Nie przepadam za tym.
the subject matter – tematyka
to give something a go – spróbować czegoś (to try/ attempt)
be worth something – być czegoś wartym


We Need to Talk About Kevin (2003) by Lionel Shriver is a book about what happens when motherhood goes wrong. It tells a story of Eva, whose teenage son goes on a killing spree and kills seven fellow students and two adults. We learn about Eva's past and present through the letters she writes to her estranged husband.

The first-person narrative is what makes for a great read in this case. Eva is brutally honest and she shares with us events and emotions that she has been hiding from everyone else for years. Even though at times she comes across as cold and heartless, we can't help but sympathise with her.

It's far less important to me to be liked these days than to be understood.

motherhood – macierzyństwo
to go on a killing spree – mordować (a spree – a short period of doing a particular activity)
fellow students – uczniowie tej samej szkoły
estranged – który pozostaje w separacji (describes a husband or wife who is not now living with the person they are married to)
to make for – sprawiać , przyczyniać się do ( to result in or make possible)
a great read – świetna lektura
in this case – w tym wypadku
at times – czasami
come across as – wydawać się
We can't help but sympathise with her – Nie umiemy jej nie współczuć/ solidaryzować się z nią


Eva is a successful travel guide author. She is married to Franklin, whom she's crazy in love with. She doesn't think of herself as a mother and finds the whole idea of pregnancy daunting. Then she realises that all Franklin has ever wanted is to become a father and she decides to go along with her husband's wish, against her better judgement.

trying to be a good mother may be as distant from being a good mother as trying to have a good time is from truly having one

daunting – odstraszające, zniechęcające
to go along with – zgodzić się, postępować zgodnie z (to agree with, to support something)
against somebody's better judgement – pomimo, iż rozsądek podpowiadał co innego
distant – odległy


Kevin is what we call a nightmare baby. He screams and cries all day long. He scares away every babysitter that comes along and he refuses to be potty-trained. When he grows up, he turns into a hostile and aloof teenager that stays bored and unimpressed the whole time.

We would surround him with toys and he would stare at them or kick one away. He did not play.

He pulls my hair,” she said quietly... “He pulls it very hard indeed. He's old enough now and I think he knows it hurts.

to scare away – odstraszać
to come along – pojawiać się (to appear)
potty-trained – umiejący korzystać z nocnika, a potty – nocnik
hostile – wrogi
aloof – wyniosły (describes an unfriendly person who refuses to take part in things)
to surround somebody with something – otaczać kogoś czymś
to stare at – gapić się na coś


What has drawn me to the book is the language. The author has laced Eva's rants with beautifully intricate vocabulary. That makes the book suitable for more proficient readers. If you don't really read too much in English, you might want to wait a little till you have more experience in reading in English.

to draw (drew, drawn) – przyciągać (to attract)
to lace something with something else – dodać, przyozdabiać
a rant – tyrada
intricate – kunsztowny (complex)
suitable – odpowiednia


The novel by Lionel Shriver has been adapted into a movie. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) directed by Lynne Ramsey stars the amazing Tilda Swinton as Eva (nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance) and the spooky-looking Ezra Miller as teenage Kevin. The movie has been classified as a psychological thriller and dubbed suspenseful and spine-chilling. Here's the trailer:

the film stars – w filmie występuje
spooky-looking – wyglądający upiornie, strasznie
be dubbed – zostać określonym jako (called)
suspenseful – trzymający w napięciu
spine-chilling – mrożący krew w żyłach, przyprawiający o dreszcze (a spine – kręgosłup, to chill – chłodzić)

If you have read it all, you deserve a cookie ;). Make sure you vote in my poll (on your right). Have a happy and safe weekend!

See you in my next post!



  1. Już przeszukałam eBay w poszukiwaniu tej książki :) Wzięłam sobie za cel, że jeśli uda mi się dorwać książkę w oryginale to będę ją w takiej formie czytać. Pewnie zajmie mi to trochę dłużej niż czytanie po polski ale cóż ;) Za to będę miała 2 w 1 : przyjemność z czytania + szlifowanie angielskiego :)

    Jeśli chodzi o Twój blog to piszesz bardzo fajnie i na pewno będę zaglądać. A w międzyczasie nadrobię zaległości w innych Twoich postach :)

  2. Bardzo mi miło w takim razie :) Książka jest naprawdę wyjątkowa. Mam nadzieję, że Tobie również się spodoba!

    Cieszę się bardzo, że odwiedziłaś mój blog. Takie komentarze jak Twój są dla mnie motywacją, żeby nie przestawać pisać ;)

    Pozdrawiam serdecznie :)

  3. Hello,

    The Top 100 Language Lovers 2012 competition hosted by the bab.la language portal and the Lexiophiles language blog has started and your blog has been nominated in the category language learning blogs. Congratulations! The nomination period goes until May 13th. Feel free to spread the word among other bloggers writing about languages or to suggest one blog yourself.
    Please email me so I have your contact details and send you details on the status of the competition and the badge. For further information on the Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 competition, visit http://www.lexiophiles.com/english/top-100-language-lovers-2012-nominate-your-favourite-now

    Best wishes,
    Stefanie for the bab.la and Lexiophiles team

  4. Hi Karola,
    I have heard recently about this movie that it is worth to see. So I am going to download it. Would you suggest to read the book first? Do you have a comparison? Please advice!
    Best Regards

  5. Hi Cindy!

    Yes, it's definitely much better to start with the book (be it in English or Polish) and then watch the movie. The movie jumps from Eva's past to her present and then goes back to talk about her past and you might get confused by that if you haven't read the book. Plus, it's always better to know how the characters really feel. The actors are brilliant of course, but the book is still better at describing some internal struggles and emotions.

    I'm glad you got interested in the book. Happy reading and watching!

  6. Thanks!
    I will go for the book :) but first I need to finish reading Carrie in the City - I highly recommend!


  7. Ok :)

    Oh, I didn't know that one. Will check it out when I have a chance, for sure. I have read Sex and the City and it was pretty entertaining :)